The practice of the collection of relics is a tradition that goes back to early Christianity. The idea began to venerate objects that are associated with the Holy Family. To sanctify a holy place, a relic would be placed within. The art shows particular important events of Christ’s life. Trade of relics became very important because of their high value – only a very wealthy group could afford them. There was an increase in the way there were presented.
Relics were then places in reliquaries – containers that held each relic. They became extremely elaborate. They represented pilgrimages. People would travel to the places where elaborate relics were kept for veneration.
The Crusades involved re-Christianizing the holy land that was in Muslim control. The idea of reconquering the areas to take them back in the name of Christianity. It is common to have manuscripts elaborately decorated with Crusader themes. Symbolizes a theme of good and evil – popular iconography that enters into art in this period.
Great deal of trade and expansion taking place – even culturally throughout these regions.
Areas of Northern Spain and Western France – shows popular routes of trade and pilgrimage routes. Charlemagne and his sucessors donated a lot of money to benefit Pope Benedict and the building of monasteries. The Benedictine monasteries had become the main monasteries throughout Europe – they became very wealthy and elaborate.
In the town of Cluny, there were an important Benedictine monastery that grew in size over the years – had to be replaced three time. The third time was in the beginning of the 11th century, finishing in the year 1088 – and was the largest church ever built in Europe (until the building of St. Peter’s). Today, only one tower remains. There was an accumulation of many individual chapels within – many contained relics that could be venerated. The presentation even from the exterior emphasized the importance of relics and shows how wealthy the building was.
These types of buildings could be built quickly. Containing a timber roof – however, this presented the risk of fire. Since the fall of the Roman empire – the use of vaulted space greatly increased – using masonry blocks. The art of concrete – over the course of the years the vaults begin to develop. Imagery on these buildings is restricted to the exterior – where there is great amounts of sculpture.
The timbonum (spelling?) – the arch above the entrance doors are often very large on these structures, and change vast amounts of imageries of high decoration. Often important in the theological concepts